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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year's Review - 2006

Most Memorable Reads in 2006

Fiction (in no particular order)

1. The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood
2. The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar
3. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostovea
4. A Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell
5. Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
6. Parnassus on Wheels - Christopher Morley
7. The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
8. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (re-read)


9. The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
10. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China - Jung Chang
11. May and Amy: A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love, and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and
Sir Edward Burne-Jones
- Josceline Dimbleby (What a title! And although it may sound titillating, it wasn't. It was, however, an excellent biography of mother and daughter, and a fascinating look at the Victorian time period.)

Most Disappointing - for whatever reasons, sometimes covered in my reviews, these were books I looked forward to, but that did not appeal.

The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
Saving Fish from Drowning -Amy Tan
Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
The Sea - John Banville

I read 146 books this year. There are only two other years that I've read this many books, but so much of what I read are fast-reading (and often, forgettable) mysteries. My normal average is approximately 120 per year. This year has been slap full of quick reads!

Not as much non-fiction this year, only about 8; this might be an area I want to improve on next year. All of the non-fiction I read, I enjoyed. I've begun a biography of Voltaire and may make a biography a month a goal.

Mostly, I will choose from what is available at the library, but The List (that ever-growing, out-of-control organism) includes many books that I've not found at our library.

I look forward to finding new titles and authors through your blogs, fellow readers. When I started this blog to remove all the book stuff from the other blog, I had no idea what wonderful adventures and book sharing awaited me.

Happy New Year To All of You! And Thanks for all of the comments on my blog and the wonderful pleasure of reading your reviews and suggestions on your blogs!


  1. Oh yeah, The Sea was soooooooooo dull. In the bookstore were I work, we usually can sell truckloads of the Booker Prize winner. The Sea was the most disappointing in sales so far.

    I've been hearing so much about The Thirteenth Tale - cand Carl V. says it's his best read of 2006. Maybe I should pick it up. Really that good?

  2. If you like Gothic novels - Jane Eyre, that kind of thing. I do. There are lots of allusions to some of my favorites books - by names, place names, plot development, etc. I loved this prescription that Dr. Clifton gave Margaret after her collapse: "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Take ten pages, twice a day, till end of course."

    There are probably as many detractors as adherents, and even some who liked it felt parts were slow. Not me - I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Then again, so many people loved The Sea, which I felt was a waste of time no matter how short it was. :)

  3. Happy new year to you, Jenclair! I always enjoy reading your blog and have gotten many titles to add to my "list" :)

  4. Over 100 books! Wonderful!! I hope the new year brings you more fabulous bookish delights!

  5. Wow! 146! You beat me. :) It took me a while, but I just finished putting together a list of all the books I read in 2006: all 110 of them! This is more than double what I read in 2005, due to various factors (explained in more detail in the post). They're broken down into categories, and I denoted the ones that I liked the best. :)

  6. Ex Libris - I've gotten quite a few titles from you, too!

    Heather - We can't help ourselves, can we? So much to choose from...

    Zandria - I want to organize mine better, but it is so easy just to list them by month. Next year, I may add more categorical information when reviewing them.

  7. Wow, that's alot!!! How was the Voltaire bio? Since we share the same birthday I should feel compelled to read up on him sometime...its been a looong time since college Humanities! ;)

  8. And of course, have a very happy, wonderful new year!

  9. *shrug*
    I thoroughly enjoyed The Sea, and I'm a genre reader mostly.
    I can't even imagine reading over 100 books a year, though I suppose if I cut back on the gaming it might help ;)

  10. You are one of the speediest readers I have met!:) I really liked Wild Swans when I read it some years back! It is the sort of NF that reads like fiction! I have to read May and Amy this year--I bought it in hardcover and then never read it! I hate it when I do that. I also hope to read The Penelopiad, too--glad to hear you liked it!

  11. Carl - I've just begun the Voltaire biography and haven't gotten very far. It has been a looong time since college Humanities, and all of the French names and titles are confusing!

    Andrew - Most people seemed to have thought very highly of The Sea, and I admit the writing was lovely, I just didn't care about the characters.

    Danielle - I've always been a compulsive (obsessive?) reader. But I usually spend at least 2 hours a night reading, and often 4! I agree that Wild Swans reads like fiction; a fascinating look at the time period. You should like both May and Amy and The Penelopiad!

  12. Wow, that's a lot of books! I was disappointed by my first experience with Jodi Picoult (I read 'My Sister's Keeper') and doubt I'll give any of her other books a try.

    Reading everyone's 'best of' lists is certainly wreaking havoc on my wishlist!

    Happy New Year!

  13. Wow -- a lot of books! I wish I could read that fast and devote that much time to read. Happy new year!

  14. Lesley - I read a Picoult years ago that I liked (can't remember the name, but a woman lawyer who was defending a young Amish(?) woman whose baby was murdered), but The Tenth Circle annoyed me.

    Yeah, my list just keeps growing as I browse through the blogs reading everyone's favorites.

    Dorothy - You probably do read that much...and grade it and return it! English teachers have less time for reading their own choices, but they are always reading. Stacks and stacks of papers-

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  16. love Amy Tan and had been eagerly awaiting her newest book. When Saving Fish was released I ran out and bought a copy. I tried to enjoy it, but I could only finish about 3/4 of the book before I just couldn't force myself to continue reading anymore.

    I thought it was me...

  17. Barb- It was such an interesting concept, but the story itself wasn't that great, was it? I loved the "note to the reader" at the beginning in which Tan related the circumstances that led to the writing of the novel, but everything else dragged.

  18. Jenclair, Happy New Year to your, too. I am sighing with relief that the holidays are over and I can look forward to a quiter life with reasonable bedtimes and more blog reading. I can see that I'm behind several posts at your blog. I made a list of my favorites for 2006, but your list of diappointments makes me want to look back again and make note of the disappointment.

    Do you realize that 146 books is almost 3 a week?! That's amazing, and wonderful.

  19. I'll be checking back to see your disappointments, Cheya. When I taught school, I'd go by the library on Friday, and finish at least one, sometimes two, by midnight. Keep in mind that so many of them are light escape, short mysteries and that my husband is out of town frequently. It takes me much longer to read non-fiction or complicated fiction.

  20. Wow congrats on your 146 books! Non-fiction is one genre I'd like to explore more of as well. Here's to another great year of reading!!

  21. Iliana - I'm making a list of the non-fiction getting good reviews on other blogs and also plan on more biographies. Balance is good! Can't eat deserts all the time...

  22. Sorry, I'm late, Jenclair, but I so wanted to wish you a very happy new year! May you have a fun-filled, happy and healthy 2007!

    About your books, I was so thrilled to see "The Penelopiad" and 'The Space Between Us" among your most memorable reads. I haven't made a list, but if I had, I'm sure they would be mine, too!

    I need to get to "The Historian",soon, but the copy I have is a hardcover and I hate carrying it all over the place, it weighs a ton. I might have to look for the audio book.